Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly feature of The Broke and the Bookish. A full list of instructions and future themes can be found here. This week’s topic is Top Ten Favourite Graphic Novels/Comics. I haven’t participated in this for a really long time!
In no special order:
1 and 2. The two Persepolis books, by Marjane Satrapi. The Story of a Childhood is set from 1980–84, and The Story of a Return is set from 1984–94. The first book is about life in Iran after Khomeini’s takeover and during the disastrous Iran–Iraq War, and the second book covers Marji’s four years at a French-language school in Vienna and her return to Tehran. I chose the first one as my graphic novel for my YA Lit class because of my warm memories of my family’s Iranian friends when I was growing up, and couldn’t not read the sequel. So many people don’t realise Iran was a very modern, secular, Westernised country until 1979.
3. Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol. I chose this as my paranormal book for my YA Lit class. I never got into the whole paranormal trend, and really liked that the book has more of a paranormal element. I also adore a good ghost story, and the fact that Anya is a Russian immigrant. It’s a lot easier for me to relate to a contemporary character when she’s more like I was as a teen, instead of a popular kid with lots of friends and a dating life.
4. Skim, written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (who are cousins). I chose this as my gay and lesbian book for my YA Lit class. This is also what would be called contemporary historical fiction, being set in the Nineties. Having been a teen in that decade, I understood so many of the references and the whole experience of having been an adolescent in those years. This isn’t an overt story of lesbian love, but rather a girl who has a crush on one of her teachers and is exploring her potential orientation.
5. Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?, by Brian Fies. This is the story of a father and son who go to the World’s Fair in 1939 and go through the ensuing decades, with all their changes. They’re in a timewarp, and so don’t age till near the end. I loved all the depictions of bygone technology, events, and innovations.
6. The Arrival, by Shaun Tan. I love how this story of an immigrant to the U.S. is told without any words. If a story is well-told, no words are needed to understand. It’s kind of like F.W. Murnau’s film The Last Laugh (1924), which is bookended by intertitles but told only through pantomime acting.
7. Mendel’s Daughter, by Martin Lemelman. I found this on one of my rabbi and rebbetzin’s downstairs bookshelves one long Shabbos afternoon, and was very impressed by it. It’s the story of the author’s mother, Gusta, and her childhood in 1930s and 1940s Poland. Her family lived in a part of Poland which is now Ukraine, and thus was occupied by the Soviets before the Nazis came. Gusta and her surviving siblings hid in bunkers in the woods for two years.
8 and 9. Boxers and Saints, by Gene Luen Yang. This tells the story of both sides of the Boxer Rebellion and the years leading up to it. In the end of each book, the protagonists meet. I most enjoyed Boxers, and really understood where the Chinese were coming from. The companion, Saints, was a bit less interesting, with a less engaging protagonist. Her reasons for converting to Christianity were really shallow and insincere, and she didn’t grow much over the course of the story. Overall, I’d love to see more Chinese historicals, beyond certain overrated best-sellers of recent years.
10. A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return, by Zeina Abirached. This tells the story of a day and a night during Lebanon’s civil war in the 1980s, when Beirut was divided into Muslim and Christian zones. Zeina and her little brother aren’t allowed to venture outside, so their apartment has become their entire universe. During this night and day, their parents are trapped on the other side of the city.